Once through the door of the ice shack, Tabs was struck by the vastness of the night sky and the frozen lake. He was running on the ice, his little legs churning like propeller blades, his claws scraping for purchase.
Fear drove him faster, forward, deeper into the night. There were dots of light far ahead on the other side of the lake, but they seemed miles away. Nothing to his right but the expanse of the frozen lake, and to his left, the shadowy outline of an outcropping of land — another shore, or an island perhaps, much closer than the far shore but with no signs of life. Only a line of tall trees behind a rocky beach.
Where was the creature now? Tabs wondered. Had it pulled itself out from under the crates in the shack? Was it in pursuit of him now, chasing him down on the lake with its longer canine legs? Tabs couldn’t bring himself to look.
His lungs started to burn, and he realized that his pace was slowing. The lights on the far shore of the lake beckoned him. Tabs knew there was shelter there, people, but there was no way he would be able to run all the way across the lake. It was too far.
He scanned the closer shore to his left again for any signs of help or danger. Just then, the werewolf howled behind him.
It was close! Tabs shuddered, and his muscles briefly convulsed. He lost his footing and spun sideways and end over end on the ice. He slid 20 feet on his side before coming to a stop.
Stunned…Tabs lay there panting, hearing nothing but his own breathing, a ringing in his ears and the pounding of his tiny tabby heart.
He was still alive… That much he could tell, but he had lost his bearings in the fall.
Then, a second howl ripped him awake, immediately restoring his focus. Gingerly, Tabs climbed to his feet on unsteady legs.
The second howl came from his left, along the near shore but down a ways behind him.
A second werewolf? As if in reply, the first one howled again, this time closer.
“Mrow,” Tabs mewled, overcome with despair. Is this it? Is this how my story ends?
“Mrraw!” came a grizzled shout from the near shore. Over here!
Where? Tabs searched for the owner of the raspy voice.
“Mrraaw!” the voice called again. Get up, kid! They’re comin’!
And then Tabs saw a pair of wide feline eyes glowing green on the edge of the dark shore. They belonged to a big gray cat waving a huge paw in his direction.
“Mrow!” the gray cat yelled. You can make it!
I can make it, Tabs repeated to himself, drawing strength from the words. I can make it. He took one step toward the gray cat, and then another. And then he sprung and sprinted toward the shore as fast as he could.
To follow our story from the beginning…
If you enjoyed this little tale and would like to see Tabs continue the story, let him know in the comments. 🙂 And now, here are some pics from Tabs’ every-growing kitty modeling portfolio.